This past Shabbat, terrorist elements in Gaza renewed their relentless and unprovoked attack on Israel’s southern residents by launching more than 600 rockets. These rockets indiscriminately target residents and infrastructure – schools, hospitals, and homes, men, women and children with the goal to inflict as much damage as possible. 86% of the rockets are shot down by Iron Dome yet despite our best efforts, 14% still manage to get through. In the most recent barrage, four Israelis lost their lives.
Depending on where the rockets are aimed, Israelis have between 15 seconds to three minutes to run for safety.
In Sderot and other Gaza Perimeter communities people have just 15 seconds.
Below are several videos received directly from the front-line illustrating the threat we are under and the damage these attacks can inflict:
1. Car Blown Up at a Gas Station – two passengers reported killed.
2. Youth on a Bus Near Explosion
This extremely tense situation has left children and youth in a state of perpetual fear and distress. They have been the target of more than 8,000 rocket attacks since Israel’s unilateral pull-out from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Children are so traumatized that more than 1/3 of children ages 2-6, and 93% of children ages 7 – 11 suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
OU-Israel is there 24/7 to support Israel’s residents in the South. This includes the Israeli southern communities of Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Rechovot, Sderot, Dimona, Ofakim, Yerucham, and Beit Shemesh. It is the dedicated staff of our Makom BaLev youth movement and Oraita youth club programs, who themselves are residents of Israel’s South, that put themselves and their families at risk by remaining in the area to maintain ongoing contact with their program’s children and youth: to support them during and after the attacks, to make sure they are secure.
During rocket attacks Makom Balev and Oraita clubs serve as bomb-shelters providing immediate safety for nearby residents. Afterwards, these programs provide day-to-day, ongoing outreach services empowering children, youth at risk and their families to deal with the crisis long after the rockets have fallen.
Even though there is a ceasefire in place, there is no telling when the attacks will start up again renewing the cycle of violence and terror. In the mean-time it is up to us to help Israel’s southern residents pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
Help us support as many children, youth and their families as possible by making a donation.
Working together we can provide them with the support network to brave the aftermath of the recent attacks and overcome the psychological scarring they have incurred for the long-run.
May Hashem protect our brothers and sisters.